Written by Paul Bryant, Edited by Laura Morrison
Choosing which grad schools to apply to (or which school to attend, if you've been accepted to a few) can be a very difficult process. Many believe that the main hurdle is in deciding to commit the time and money to grad school in the first place. But the truth is, finding the right environment is often the hard part. Fortunately, in today's world, you don't have to complete this step alone, as there are many resources available that may help you make the decision. Here are a few of my favorite tools for narrowing down your grad school choices.
Suggesting social media as a helpful tool may seem unimaginative or vague. However, in all honesty, it can be one of the most helpful resources in finding out what you want to know about your grad school choices. This is because many graduate schools have fairly expansive networks of students and/or alumni, and it's usually incredibly easy to reach out to people with your questions and concerns. LinkedIn is fairly reliable if you're hoping to track down alumni from a given grad school program. But if you want to speak with current students, Facebook may be your best bet. They often have group pages already established for schools and programs.
There's a lot you can figure out by reading through grad school ranking/guide books and through talking to people affiliated with the program. But for matching your own skills and goals to the perfect school, professional guidance might potentially be a valuable tool. In certain cases, a college counselor from your undergraduate university can be of assistance in this department. However, should you wish to pursue help on your own, there are options available online that are devoted to helping students find schools that fit their career goals and offer a realistic chance at admission.
If you're down to a handful of suitable options and you've done your research on the programs themselves and what they have to offer you, it all comes down to personal preference. At this point, choosing the environment that you feel most comfortable in may be a good way to go. Naturally, an actual in-person campus tour is the best way to get a feel for the environment. If it's late in the game and that's not an option, you may find websites like Campus Tours valuable. With an extensive library of virtual tours and links to campus sites and map tours, it can help you at least observe the layouts and appearances of your options.
These online tools could potentially help you greatly in narrowing things down. For specific information on various programs, you will of course need to do more particular research. But if you're down to a few appealing options, these resources can help you to gather the information you need to make a decision. Good luck!
About the Author: Paul Bryant is a freelance writer based in New York with a passion for topics related to MBA programs, especially the application process. In his downtime, he enjoys biking, fishing, and traveling as much as he can.
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